Wizards fans, it’s just the preseason. But the preseason is important, too, and quite possibly indicative … of something. Remember what Mo Evans said at the end of last season?
“We were in disarray from the moment I got here, from the moment I stepped off the plane and seen we were getting blown out by Philly in the preseason, it just wasn’t looking good.”
So there’s that. But before Washington’s one and only preseason game at the Verizon Center against the Knicks, I spoke with a couple of Wizards about the preseason, and at what point do they go from ‘getting to know each other’ to building real expectations heading into real games. Here goes Martell Webster, Jannero Pargo, Randy Wittman, and A.J. Price…
“We know that when we start to have carry-over every day from each practice, and then it shows in the game. I can’t tell you exactly when that’s going to be, but we’ll know as a team.”
How important is patience?
“It’s very important because you can’t force the issue. Once you get into pushing the envelope, then that’s when you make mistakes. Mistakes are something that you need in order to gain experience, but if you’re forcing it continuously, then you’re not really getting anywhere.”
“We have expectations now. We’re still going out there and trying to get to know each other — and that’s going to take a while — but even during the process we still have expectations. We expect to get to know each other quick. We expect to wins games. We just want to develop the habit of winning, because winning is contagious and it’s habit, and unfortunately losing is to.”
“It’s not here, not today. Again, we’re not going in — we’re playing New York — we’re not going in game-planning like you would in a regular season game. We’re more worried about us — how we react, what we’re going to do defensively, what we want to do — and not so much the New York Knicks. That will come as the preseason gets closer to opening night.”
“In most cases it takes through preseason, especially in an instance like this where you have so many new guys. It’s probably going to take us over eight games, and maybe even a couple into the regular season before we really become 100 percent comfortable with each other.”
What’s the most important part of the process?
“The biggest thing is to have patience, understand that everybody’s game is unique in itself. It sounds simple to understand, but it’s hard to understand that someone doesn’t play like someone you’re accustomed to. You know, they do different things when you expect someone to normally cut to the basket, or if this person’s a better shooter, he’ll spot up. So it takes time to understand those different types of things.”
What have you learned about Bradley Beal?
“Beal is the type of player where if you get him the ball on the break, he has a much better chance of being successful. I’ve always told him that when I got the rebound or when I get the outlet, all you gotta do is run and I’ll kick it to you ahead. So it’s small things like that with different people where you can develop a sort of bond or connection.”
What about Jan Vesely?
“He’s a hard worker. His biggest asset is being very athletic. So I tell him to just run, run and look for the ball and make sure you always got your hands ready. I think with him, being so inexperienced, he doesn’t realize when he’s open sometimes, just because he’s so athletic.”